Flexible working now key to success, say majority of businesses

A woman enjoys flexible working in her homeFour in five (80 percent) UK businesses believe that flexible working arrangements are critical to their future success, a new poll from DocuSign claims. Offering employees the flexibility of where and when they work is seen as a competitive advantage by 75 percent of businesses while the large majority (82 percent) consider it essential in attracting and retaining the right talent and meeting the demands of the future workforce.

Almost half (47 percent) already identify as being equipped to enable people to work effectively regardless of  time / location, while another quarter (25 percent) are actively working towards this. Positively, the pandemic-accelerated digitisation of businesses means that over half have invested in physical employee infrastructure in the last 2 years (54 percent) as an enabler of greater flexibility.

Being able to support remote and flexible working arrangements and enable greater collaboration is cited as a top reason for 40 percent of UK businesses to invest in new technology infrastructure, and the research suggests that cloud technologies have been a key beneficiary of that shift in focus.

Reducing inefficiencies due to manual processes (52 percent), onboarding talent (45 percent), new customers and vendors (44 percent) quickly and effectively are ranked by businesses as the most critical to business success in a distributed working environment. But the costs involved in enabling that can often be prohibitive for many, with 44 percent of UK businesses citing cost barriers as the biggest factor holding them back from further modernising their infrastructure.

The survey also suggests that the majority of UK businesses (76 percent) believe digital technologies can make their industry more sustainable, and two-thirds (71 percent) believe digital technologies will help to create a more sustainable future for their company, suggesting that businesses could view the return on investment into infrastructure as greater than the sum of its parts – offering not only efficiency benefits, but also sustainability ones.